Fall is here! But don’t worry, it’s not all rain and cold weather. Fall is a beautiful season of bounty, and you can make the most of that bounty by taking up your new favourite hobby: canning. That beautiful jam you like? You can make it. Dill pickles? You can make those too. Those cans of tomatoes you buy every other week? Yep, you got it! All you need is a bit of equipment and a bit of know-how. London Drugs has got you covered on both counts.
Canning is really just a way of preserving food. Water bath canning is the easiest way to start: you fill glass jars with the stuff you want to preserve (jams, jellies, pickles, etc.) and boil them in hot water. This kills any bacteria present, removes air from the jar, and seals it to prevent any more bacteria from getting in. Water bath canning only works for high-acid foods like fruit, tomatoes, and pickled things.
If you want to get really fancy and preserve your perfect pumpkin pie filling, you’ll need to upgrade to a pressure canner. But the basic process is to sterilize your jars in boiling water, make your preserves, put those preserves in the jars, put on the lids, and throw them back in boiling water. Easy peasy, right?
We’ve got a complete canning kit that includes the jar lifter, lid lifter, and funnel, as well as 250ml jars, 500ml jars, and even 1L jars for things like pickles and whole tomatoes. If you’re making jam or jelly, you’ll also need pectin.
Once you’ve acquired the equipment, you need to decide what you want to can! In early fall we still have stone fruit like peaches and plums, and lots of tomatoes. Later in the season, root vegetables like carrots and beets can make some excellent pickles. And apples, of course!
If you’ve got a well stocked grocery store that brings in produce from further afield, you can can small batches with basically any type of fruit. We’ve got recipes for strawberry balsamic jam and sour cherry jelly on the blog from earlier this summer. (What’s the difference between jam and jelly, you ask? Jam is made from crushed fruit while jelly is made from fruit juice! The more you know.)
Canning isn’t difficult, but when mistakes are made they can range from something minor like a jam that doesn’t set to something dangerous like food that is unsafe to eat. You may balk at the amount of sugar in some of these recipes, but it’s integral to getting the jelly or jam to set properly, and it helps prevent spoilage.
Boiling time will vary depending on what altitude you’re at. You also can’t reuse the flat part of the two part lid for canning jars; you can reuse the ring, but you need a new lid each time you can. And don’t forget to sterilize your jars before filling them with your preserves!
There are a ton of great websites you can go to for more information and recipes, including the National Center for Home Food Preservation, Food in Jars, and Punk Domestics. Companies that make canning supplies like Bernardin and Ball are also fantastic resources.
Here are a few of our favourite fall recipes. Go ahead and get canning! You can can!
Do you have trouble getting your kids to do their morning tasks, and getting them out the door before school? Here’s one clever (and tasty) trick that makes it fun for kids to complete their morning tasks. This little life hack will have you out the door on time with smiling kids. The answer to disorganized mornings is here!
Need other great tips and tricks to make life easier? Check out more of our helpful LD Solutions Videos on YouTube or individually here on the London Drugs Blog:
Doing laundry is necessary, of course, but it takes time and energy—and we know there are ways to save a little of both.
You probably already know to wash your clothes in cold water to save energy and hang your clothes to dry. Now try these next-level tips to truly up your laundry game.
If your sweaty workout gear is a little too fragrant, pre-soak it in a vinegar solution. The technical, sweat-wicking fabrics that work so well during exercise are actually harder to clean; the vinegar helps cut through your body’s oils to eliminate that smelly bacteria.
And vinegar doesn’t just clean, it also softens fabrics! Add ¼ to 1 cup of white vinegar to your washer during the final rinse cycle instead of a traditional fabric softener. (You’ve already got the vinegar in your pantry—you might as well use it, right?)
Don’t forget, too, that washing machines also need to be cleaned regularly, along with your clothes. You can use vinegar to clean your washing machine itself, too–it’s easy and cost-effective!
Hand washing is best for delicates, but when you need to throw them in the washer make sure you use a mesh laundry bag. It keeps them protected from rubbing against other fabrics that may lead to pilling while the mesh still lets in water and detergent to get them clean. There are even specially designed laundry bags for bras, with padded mesh to protect the cup shape. It’s still advisable to use the delicate mode on your washer, but the mesh laundry bags will protect your delicates even more.
When you do hand wash, there’s no handy spin cycle to remove that excess water. You can mimic your washer’s spin cycle using a salad spinner (make sure you only use this salad spinner for laundry!), or you can lay your garment flat on a clean dry towel and roll it all up. Some more gentle pressing helps the towel soak up that water gently. It’s much safer than wringing the water out.
There are lots of little things you can do that will make your laundry life so much easier. Post a note by your washer to remind yourself about any items that need particular care: those that need to be washed separately, can’t go in the dryer, etc. This is especially important if you share laundry duties with a family member! You can use a dry erase board to easily update your laundry notes.
You might also try dryer balls instead of dryer sheets. They do the same thing—soften fabrics, speed up drying time–plus they’re reusable.
And those mesh laundry bags you use for your delicates? Keep your socks in there to ensure they all come out of the dryer! In fact, you can give one mesh bag to each family member to make it even easier to sort socks later. Never lose a sock again.
What are some of your favourite #laundrytips? Let us know on Twitter!
It’s that time of year when your browser history reveals the hours spent ogling other people’s backyards. It’s hard not to think of all the decor changes you could make for your outdoor space, from accent colours to string lights. Here are a few scenes to recreate this year (or someday soon). When inspiration hits, London Drugs has the accessories you need to raise your backyard game.
Taking inspiration from the farms of Alberta, tractor-themed accessories (like these sweet solar lights and milking stools and matching tractor table) can transform your backyard into a rustic chic haven. If you’re looking for a pop of colour, channel the classic red barn door with this sharp patio set.
Do you love the smell of fresh herbs? The most fabulous gardens combine opposites in beautiful ways, like these pretty blooms planted up in old buckets. Pot basil, chives, and other garnishes in this cool wrought iron planter for a lovely scented centrepiece.
In the light-filled summer months, we’re more keen to stay up late and dine al fresco, sharing laughs and meals with friends. Set the mood with delicate fairy lights or a pathway of solar-powered torches for an outdoor space you can enjoy all night long.
The perfect evening get-together needs an audio experience to match the lovely conversation with friends. Hardy waterproof speakers allow you to choose a complementary soundtrack for any backyard soiree.
Let’s not forget that Canadian necessity for summer evenings: the fire pit. Redesigned as bowls, tabletops and glass aquariums, London Drugs has many to choose from. Just decide on your backyard’s theme and enhance with an engaging fire feature. Always practice fire safety and pay close attention to fire bans in your area.
The time you spend with friends and family in your backyard will undoubtedly become treasured memories for years to come. Find all the gorgeous accoutrements you need from London Drugs online and in-store from our Outdoor Living Guide.
If an emergency situation developed quickly, would you know what to do? In the event of flooding, a natural disaster, or an earthquake, it’s important to be prepared. Experts agree that you need to be prepared to survive for 72 hours with the possibility of having no water or power.
Prepared emergency kits are available from London Drugs, SOS Emergency Response Technologies, and St. John Ambulance, but you can pack your bag to suit your family’s needs. All of these items should be ideally stored in a conveniently located and durable backpack.
Emergency preparedness is always a good idea. Educate yourself, your family, and your friends on the potential risks, create a plan, and stay prepared for any situation that might arise.
At London Drugs, we sell everything from cameras to candy, lipsticks to memory sticks. So it’s no shock that some of our many products are a bit, well…bizarre. And that’s okay. We love being surprised by some of our weirdly wonderful items.
Once before, we celebrated our favourite odd appliances. This time we broadened our scope to include all things nifty, neato, and unexpected.
This “clock” does everything. It wakes you up with progressive sound and light meant to mimic a natural sunrise, but also plays streaming music, can be used as a speakerphone, and glows in five selectable hues. Plus, it looks like a giant frog’s eye. So that’s pretty neat.
This list would be incomplete without a funky breakfast tool (sorry, we’re all sold out of the classic 3-in-1). But this one’s an award-winner based on consumer surveys, so you know it works great. Why bother making breakfast sandwiches in stages like a schlub. Instead, do it all at once and make two sandwiches at a time!
There’s no time like the present to dust off that waffle iron you received as a wedding gift two years ago. The same applies to the slow cooker only brought out for potlucks, and the popcorn machine you can’t reach at the back of the cupboard. When it comes to kitchen appliances, the possibilities are only limited by your imagination. Coffee makers and dishwashers are capable of doing much more than what it claims on their packaging. The following hacks take everyday kitchen appliances (and a few kitchen tools!) from one-dimensional to multi-faceted.
We all know how frustrating it can be trying to butter a fluffy piece of toast with a cold slab of butter. Not only can a cheese grater solve all your butter problems, but it can also double as a vegetable slicer, spice grinder, and chocolate shaver. Find more grater hacks here.